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#733: This Week in Haiti 17:30 10/13/99 (fwd)
"This Week in Haiti" is the English section of HAITI PROGRES
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* THIS WEEK IN HAITI *
October 13 - 19, 1999
Vol. 17, No. 30
THE RACIST UNDERBELLY OF THE U.S. OCCUPATION OF HAITI
by Stan Goff
In the Summer 1999 edition of the Southern Poverty Law Center's
Investigative Report, Gregory A. Walker wrote an article entitled
"A Defector in Place." It was a story about Sergeant First Class
Stephen Barry, a former Special Forces soldier who has been
publishing a fascist newsletter called "The Resister" for several
years and who was eased out of the Army as a result.
The writer treats the story of Barry as an aberration, dutifully
but reluctantly corrected by the Army. There is also mention of
Barry's activities in Haiti, where it is claimed he subverted the
mission of the invasion task force in 1994 by ensuring the
continued arming of right-wing Haitian organizations. This is an
important story, and it is no aberration. Rather it offers a
glimpse of the systemic racism in the Special Operations
community of the military and reveals that the commanders of the
invasion task force in Haiti may well have provided SFC Barry
with tacit approval.
I joined the U.S. Army in January 1970, and in February 1996, I
retired from 3rd Special Forces. I was in the Special Operations
community from 1979 until 1996. I was the operations chief for a
Special Forces A-Detachment with the invasion task force for
Operation Restore Democracy in Haiti in 1994.
The article noted that Barry began by distributing his screeds in
an amateurish newsletter to other Special Forces people. He has
used contacts with the Soldier of Fortune magazine and racist
organizations like the Council of Conservative Citizens (a
favorite of several right-wing members of Congress) and the
National Alliance (named by the Anti-Defamation League as the
most dangerous neo-Nazi group in America) to boost his fortunes.
"The Resister" now has very high production values and a
circulation of over 2,500.
"Barry received a career-ending reprimand as a result of his
activities and, at one point, was a target of both federal and
military criminal investigations," stated the article. The
existence of the newsletter and of a corresponding group calling
itself the Special Forces Underground (SFU) was exposed in a "60
Minutes" program in 1995. At that time, the Army denied the SFU
was real, and said "The Resister" was not extremist. Major
General William Garrison, who was my commander in 1986, was the
commandant of the Special Warfare Center in 1996. He ordered an
unofficial inquiry. Commanders were concerned when it was pointed
out that Timothy McVeigh had a copy of "The Resister" in his car
when he was arrested after the 1995 bombing of the Murrah
Building in Oklahoma City.
The unofficial investigation was exposed by "Soldier of Fortune"
magazine, which portrayed it as a "witch hunt", and astonishingly
the investigation was called off.
"Soldier of Fortune" is a racist, fascist publication that touts
right-wing mercenary activity. It is widely sold in military Post
Exchanges and Base Exchanges, along with similar publications
like "Gung-ho." It is remarkable that an investigation would be
called off with pressure from *this kind* of publication and that
taxpayer-financed federal facilities would carry this kind of
literature in the first place. It should tell us something about
the military culture that not a single liberal or left
publication can be found on a single base or post, but fascist
periodicals and misogynist pornography abound.
The Special Operations community in the military is a hotbed of
right-wing ideology and always has been. I was considered
suspicious for implementing rules against racial epithets in the
team rooms. People openly register their fascist sympathies by
posting SS lightening bolts on the walls, joining or supporting
fascist organizations, and listing their race as "Aryan" on
government forms (until told, with a wink and a nod, to change
it). The Army's response only comes after embarrassment at public
Col. Mark Boyatt, commander of 3rd Special Forces, and my
commander for the Haiti invasion in 1994, had Barry reassigned to
the Special Forces language school after the "60 Minutes" story
aired. Boyatt chided him for printing "sensitive information",
that is information about Special Forces operations and tactics,
but Barry was not reprimanded for being a neo-Nazi.
The Army has good reason to be circumspect; it is trying to stay
out of hot water. During hearings in Congress on the racially
motivated murders of a black couple in Fayetteville, North
Carolina, in 1995 by skinheads in the 82nd Airborne Division,
congressional staffers heard allegations that "The Resister
boasted of Special Forces members illegally defying orders in
Haiti by helping to arm anti-democratic forces. It describes how
U.S. military officials sidelined Congress and allowed Barry to
remain in the military despite clear evidence of his extremism."
The Army can't stand too much light being shed on the Haiti
issue, not because of Barry's racist proclivities, but because
the task force commanders encouraged precisely the kind of
activity in which Barry claims to have been involved.
Investigative Report continues: "As to the [Washington] Post
story about alleged Special Forces subversion in Haiti, Withers
[the investigating congressional staffer] reported that the
officer told him, 'We looked into that, and found it be untrue.'
Withers asked for details of the investigation that backed the
officer's assertions. But for six months, Withers wrote, the Army
dragged its feet. Finally, after several requests, the Army sent
the committee's staff a letter reiterating that the Haiti report
was 'unfounded,' but offering no further details. 'When pressed,'
Withers wrote, '... [Army officials] said that they had asked the
soldiers themselves if they were involved in such activities and
the soldiers had said no, so they decided they did not need to
investigate further.' The officials also said The Resister was
unconnected to the Special Forces although one soldier had been
reprimanded for distributing it. Barry's name was not mentioned.
But even as both the Army and Special Forces were officially
denying the allegations of the Aristide government [that Special
Forces members were rearming the pro-coup death-squad network
FRAPH and others], The Resister was saying otherwise. In January,
four months before the Army's memo to Withers, Barry boasted in
print about the SFU's anti-Aristide activities in Haiti, where he
had been briefly assigned in support of Operation Restore
Democracy. More recently, in a 1999 issue of The Resister, he
wrote of his own role in subverting the U.S. mission: 'Instead of
posturing and blustering and whining about [the gun confiscation
program], I kept my mouth shut and acted. So, despite the best
efforts of our Communist administration, there are still hundreds
of anti-Communist Haitians who still possess militarily useful
arms.'... Not satisfied with the Army's response to its
questions, [Congressman] Dellums' committee informed the Special
Forces Command that its staffers would again visit Ft. Bragg
seeking answers. On Sept. 18, 1996, in preparation for this
visit, the Special Forces Command under Major General Kenneth R.
Bowra [with whom I served in 1979-80 at 2nd Ranger Battalion]
authorized an official administrative investigation 'into the
possible illegal activities of active duty soldiers associated
with ... The Resister.' "
One of the reasons for the foot-dragging is that an investigation
into something as simple as the content of each and every U.S.
Army intelligence summary before, during, and after the 1994
Haiti invasion would reveal similar venom directed against
Haitians and their democratically elected government. I was privy
to the lion's share of those intelligence summaries, and they
invariably regurgitated CIA fabrications and propaganda about
Aristide (none positive), and were shot through with racist and
xenophobic stereotypes about Haitians. We were being told, in
effect, by Military Intelligence (and "between the lines" by our
command structure) that we had to maintain the *appearance* of
supporting the return of democracy to Haiti, but that we should
work hard to break down the power of democratic organizations
around the country.
I was relieved of my command and removed from Haiti in December
1994. My troubles began after I had arrested soldiers, FRAPH
members, Macoutes, and the former ambassador under Francois
Duvalier, Neal Calixte (who was reputed to have financed FRAPH
activity). Virtually all of these detainees were freed and
returned to my sector, even though a massive number of witnesses
wanted to testify against them for a range of atrocities. I was
told to regard the FRAPH death-squad network as the legitimate
political opposition. I was *refused permission* to sweep my
sector for weapons, which I intended to confiscate. Soldiers whom
we thoroughly vetted and energetically recommended be barred from
the interim police force were all given amnesty and admitted for
I was asked repeatedly during the investigation that relieved me
of my command if I hadn't become "too pro-Haitian."
The fact of the matter was that the U. S. couldn't militarily
invade Haiti without a massive, negative response from the
Haitian people. The U.S. needed Aristide on its arm, and when
they were done with him, they pushed him off the stage. Even as
this is written, the U. S. is attempting to manipulate another
Haitian election on behalf of the international financial
oligarchies represented by the World Bank and the International
The United States foreign policy establishment has always been
about profit. Since capitalism is as inextricably linked as a
Gordian knot with racism and neocolonialism, it should surprise
no one that the special operations community, designed to do
"special operations in politically sensitive areas", is immersed
in a culture of racism, domination and exploitation.
All articles copyrighted Haiti Progres, Inc. REPRINTS ENCOURAGED.
Please credit Haiti Progres.